A lot of conservative publications are joining liberal ones in condemning James O’Keefe and Project Veritas for attempting to catch the Washington Post in the act of publishing false claims about embattled Senate candidate Roy Moore. Their failed sting operation was embarrassing. Perhaps worse than that (or better, depending on whether you support Moore), their attempt to discredit the publication and therefore the accusers whose story was told by WaPo has actually added more credibility to their stories.
They hurt Moore’s chances by attempting to help.
For background, let’s look at what Ben Shapiro said over at DailyWire:
In a series of interviews over two weeks, the woman shared a dramatic story about an alleged sexual relationship with Moore in 1992 that led to an abortion when she was 15. During the interviews, she repeatedly pressed Post reporters to give their opinions on the effects that her claims could have on Moore’s candidacy if she went public.
The Post did not publish an article based on her unsubstantiated account. When Post reporters confronted her with inconsistencies in her story and an Internet posting that raised doubts about her motivations, she insisted that she was not working with any organization that targets journalists.
Shapiro’s is a reasoned response. Some that I’ve read have not been. They’re mad at O’Keefe, not for the attempt but rather because he failed at it. If he’d caught WaPo publishing a story that wasn’t true, these same conservative authors would be cheering him on. Now, they’re attacking him because he failed.
This type of operation is not new to O’Keefe. He’s been doing it for years ever since taking down ACORN. He won’t win every time. Therefore, it’s important to be consistent with how we treat his sting attempts. If you buy into this type of exposure journalism, you take the good with the bad. Accept that he tried and failed and move on. Encourage him in his failure just as you would when he succeeds. If you’re against this type of journalism, then oppose it regardless of the results. This isn’t sports. It’s politics. It’s a dirty game. Embrace the dirt or leave it alone. Don’t switch sides with the winds. That’s what actual politicians do.